Tag Archives: motherhood

Relationship Advice #9

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“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord  not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

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Rachel and Jake,

For the past few years I have written to you here, here, and here with a variety of relationship advice for you to use in your everyday life.  Your Mama’s “pearls of wisdom,” as I like to call them, are not meant for mastery but more for your own reflection.  These little pieces of advice that I give are things that I am working on myself in my relationships and are in no way anything that I have mastered or do day in and day out.  Simply put, each year when your father’s and my anniversary rolls around, I reflect on what I have learned over the last year or what stuck out as the most pressing piece of advice I want to share with you.

When the time comes for you to get married, my hope is that you’ll be able to see what it takes to make a marriage last for a lifetime.  Your father and I have committed to the vows we made before God to love, honor and cherish each other as long as we live. It’s a large scale promise that can only be fulfilled by purposely choosing how we make up those day-to-day moments that create a lifetime of loving each other. What do those moments look like? Well, sweet little ones, that’s what I hope these posts will help you understand.

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{Relationships are a lot like sledding.  You have to mentally prepare yourself beforehand, get all of the tools you need in place and then you get to enjoy the ride! When you think you’re done, you just get back up, climb the hill again and head back down for some more adventure! Important note–It’s more fun if you enjoy the people you are sledding with.}

So, here it is, relationship advice number nine. It might sound a bit odd, but just bear with me here: get a hobby.  Yes, that’s right, a hobby.  The key to happiness does not rely on  relationships alone.  You need to be able to find things that make you feel happy and content and confident in yourself because as you will find in your life, and I’m sorry to say this, but people and relationships will sometimes disappoint you.  You need to be able to find satisfaction and fulfillment outside of relationships so that when the chips are down you can still have something that brings happiness into your life. On the flip side of that, your hobby will allow you to share your joy with others and many times will bring new and varied relationships in to your life.   God has given you specific interests and skill sets for a reason–it is up to you to develop and explore the natural talents He has given you!IMG_3135

Relationship Advice #9: Get a hobby. It could even be something that doesn’t have to involve the other person at first, if you want.  “How does that work?,” you might wonder. Or “What does that have to do with anything?” Well, that’s the beauty of this blog, just let me tell you…

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According to the researchers at the School of Medicine at Temple University, engaging in a hobby awakens the area of the brain that produces positive feelings and reduces stress.  Doing a particular task that you enjoy can enhance your ability to concentrate and encourages self-motivation and increases self-confidence.  All of these can have a profound impact on your relationship with those around you.

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Over the past few years your father and I have developed several hobbies.  Some we share with each other, and some we do completely on our own. Having a hobby that we can share together is a fun way to connect with each other, especially during these years when most of our conversation centers around you.  For example, in the past year or so your Dad and I have started exploring craft beers together.  We enjoy trying new beers together and finding beers for each other that we think we might like.  Sometimes we are surprised at how well we know the other person’s taste!

After you are in bed for the night, sometimes we will try a new beer together while we talk about the day or anything else that might be on our mind.  It’s a way for us to purposefully make an effort to connect with each other. Recently your Dad has even started learning how to brew his own beer with a friend.  I fully support that endeavor and enjoy reaping the benefits of it as well! IMG_3656.JPG

Photography has been a bit of an outlet for me lately.  I enjoy taking pictures and have been blessed to be able to share some of the joy that you, my children, bring me through sharing my photos with others.  I have been humbled that other people have chosen me to take their family photos and am loving some of the experiences and doors that photography has opened up for me.  It was completely unexpected, but it was an outlet your father (and some really great friends) encouraged me to explore!

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It’s no secret that your Dad has always been in to cars and Corvettes especially.  When we first started dating I thought “Go to a car show? Really??” Sometimes your friend or spouse might have a hobby that you are “just not that into.” And that’s ok! But, please try to like it for that other person.  There is always something that can be gained from new experiences.  Something that brings joy to your friend or partner can in some way bring joy to you too.  Even if it’s just spending time together or having something that you do together to support each other–it’s important!

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Who knows, some day you may like it and end up taking your kids there and posing them beside sweet Corvettes that you never really appreciated before your relationship began.  You might realize that it’s really not that bad, after all.  And when you find yourself saying “Hey, want to take the Corvette out and take pictures of it on some crazy back road I found?” you’ll realize that your two worlds have collided in the best way possible and then you’ll realize that the things that you thought were weird in your younger years really aren’t that bad after all.  Because in the end, my little ones, it’s all about supporting each other and bringing parts of yourself into a relationship.

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Trying something new can be a good thing when you look at it as an adventure or as a way to learn about new things.  In fact, we should welcome change and new opportunity into our lives because it helps evolve who we are as a person. Our lives weren’t meant to be stagnant.  You will grow and change throughout your lifetime and you want to be sure that you surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and support your interests too.

If you want someone who is going to support you, then you need to be willing to do that for them, as well.  Being a good friend requires having a willingness to grow and bond over new experiences.  After all, no two  people are ever exactly the same.  Everyone comes in to a relationship with their own set of experiences and beliefs that can impact the way they view certain situations. Celebrate those differences, encourage others to pursue what makes them happy and enjoy the ride as they find their place in this world.

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I’ll leave you with one final thought, which happens to be an excerpt from an exceptional author.  Read these words and try to let them really sink in.  It took me a long time before I finally got the gist of what he meant.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.  Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.  Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.  Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.  Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are along though they quiver with the same music.  Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.  For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.  And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. ~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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I love you more than you will ever know.  To the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

ps. Happy 9th Anniversary, Tim! Thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me and for helping me find my hobby!

 

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jake!

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Happiest of birthdays to you, baby Jake! You are our smiling, happy go lucky, sweet little boy.  You can be found at any given point of any given day reading, emptying drawers, or playing with your trucks.  No pair of shoes is safe with you around–you claim them all as your own! You LOVE to run and jump and kick soccer balls.  It certainly didn’t take long for you to learn to push yourself on the scooter, and did we mention you taught Rachel how to drive the PowerWheels Corvette? JakeTurnsTwo-2

 

There are so many things I’d like to say to you about how sweet you are and how precious you will always be to me, but my words are failing me right now.  Instead I have a little bit of a lump in my throat thinking about that teeny tiny baby that I held in my arms the first day you were born. So delicate and sweet. I remember your tiny little hands and how they would grasp to hold on to mine anytime yours were set free.  I knew right away that you were “my” little baby, the one that I had prayed for since I was a little girl, given to us to bring so much love and joy to our family.  Since then you have done that and so much more! We love you more than anything, sweet babe!

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Sometimes it’s still surreal for me to think about all those times I prayed for you before you were born.  I remember praying for my future children when I was just a little girl…and now here you and your sister are.  I had no idea what you were going to look like or act like, or how your little personality would light up my life, but I knew that I would love you always–because I already did! You are such a blessing little Jake, I hope you always remember that.

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Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. if things don’t always go according to plan.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. to smile…even if people don’t smile back, that doesn’t take away from the smile that you gave.  You help me to appreciate the little things in life.  I’ve never paid as much attention to birds flying by, ants crawling on the ground, or cars stopping at a stop sign before you were born.  When the wind blows, you stop and close your eyes just to be able to feel it blow across your face.  I could cry at the sweetness of your innocence and it reminds me what life is all about.  Thank you for that, Jake.

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You are the best Jake I could ever ask for.  Thank you for being so precious and perfect for our family.  Being your Mom is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I love you always, little Jake.

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To the moon and back.

Happy Birthday, little buddy.  xoxo

Love always,

Mommy

 

Happy Easter 2015

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Happy Easter, my little sweeties! What a fun day we had filled with candy, Easter baskets, songs and a wonderful message shared later in the day by my sweet girl about how Jesus makes us “clean” again (Thank you, Miss Dani!)

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It is because of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for us that we have reason to celebrate today.  Always know that Easter is not just about the candy and eggs, but that it signifies a promise fulfilled and a love so strong that it was willing to go to any length to sacrifice for you.

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Some people put much emphasis on telling others that they love them…a spouse, a friend, a child; but Easter reminds us that real love is more than just words.  Real love requires action and sacrifice.  Jesus dying on the cross is the perfect example of the ultimate sacrifice to display the ultimate love.  I challenge you, my little ones who will one day grow into adults, to show the world your love not just in words alone, but also through your actions. The choices that you make and the sacrifices you endure will show the world (and yourself) where the intention of your heart lies.  Love the ones who are the most difficult to love, reach out to those who need your help the most, sacrifice your time being of service to others.  Volunteer your time, your energy and your heart.  Do what you can to make the world a better and more loving place.  By choosing to live a life of actionable love, you will get to know the Father’s love for you (and all of us) in ways you would never have known before.

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Romans 8:1

I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Reflections on Love {Part 2}

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Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet little valentines who mean more to me than anyone else in this entire world! I hope you always know how much you are loved, not just by me, but by the One who made you! You were created in His image and likeness, and I believe wholeheartedly that we are here on this earth to spread His love to others in any way we can! You can read a little bit more about my thoughts on what love is here. 🙂

jake valentines day 2015One of the best parts about being your mom is that I get to watch your life grow and change right in front of my very eyes.  I know that you were created for a purpose and that your life has meaning to it, and I can’t wait to watch you both grow.  One thing that I wonder about is how you will react to the world’s expectations of you when you are a young adult.  I hope that the values that I am trying to instill in you today will carry over into your experiences as you try to make sense of this big ol’ world around you.

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I wonder, if by the time you feel the desire to have a significant other, will you still value yourself if you do not find someone in the time frame you were hoping to? Will you still stay true and steadfast to your core beliefs–both personal and spiritual? Will you know that your life’s worth, and who you are as a person, is not measured as “successful” by the ability (or inability) of someone else to love you? If the answer to these questions is “yes!” then I will feel as if I have done my job successfully in preparing you for the inevitable disappointment of a failed relationship or in the longing of a new relationship.

YOU, my sweet ones, are worth the wait in any relationship.  Hold strong to your worth and know that you are a prize.  You are so loved already by so many people around you.  No matter what happens, your life has a purpose and your life has meaning.  Do not let others make you feel lesser or that you are not worthy according to society’s standards (those standards are bizarre and unrealistic most of the time anyway).  The only standard that really matters is His, and He loves you more than you could ever know.  Think about that for a minute or two, reflect on that…..Know that love.  Feel that love.  Share that love with others. You are worth it.rachel valentines day 20152

I  love you to the moon and back.

Love,

Mommy

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My sweet babies,

Let’s talk a little bit about purpose.  Everyone wonder’s about it at some point in their life. “What am I here for?” “What is my calling?” “How can I find happiness in my own life?” At times you might feel that your purpose in life is not totally clear, or you might feel that your purpose in life and what you are actually doing in life do not coincide with each other.  I’m here to tell you, my sweet ones, that the answer to this question is not a simple one.

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What I do know, my dear ones, is that this life is not all that there is in store for us.  I do know that there is more.  There is more waiting for us when we get to heaven.  There’s this trend I’ve noticed in my own life, and I’m curious to see if you notice it in yours someday too.  What I have noticed is that through almost every stage of my life (and it’s not like I’m old and gray, I’m still in my twenties after all! The tail end of them, but I’m still in them!) I have always felt like there should be more.  I’ve always thought “Well, if only I could have this or see this or do this then I’ll never want anything else! I’ll be totally happy!” That’s not to say that I’ve never felt contentment–I have! Just not 100% of the time in all aspects of my life.  It’s human nature to want more, to desire more, to push yourself to do more.  I’m convinced that the reason for that feeling….get ready for it….is because this world is not our home!

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Just because we live in this world, that does not make it our home.  Be careful that you do not find your identity in things that belong in this world, but find your identity in the One who created you for eternity.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the material things of this world–an expensive watch, a nice car, a fancy handbag, a new expensive house–these are all things that popular culture tells us are measures of success!  These items though, really will not leave you feeling satisfied, many times they will leave you feeling like you want more.  When you realize that your life’s purpose does not have to do with material wealth or prosperity, you can begin to live as a changed and focused person.  Try thinking about it this way–much like a dolphin could never feel totally satisfied living in captivity because it was meant to swim freely in the ocean, or a bird could never reach it’s full potential if it never was able to fly; you will never feel totally satisfied in this life because, like the bird with the clipped wings or the dolphin held in captivity, you were made for so much more.

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Invest your time wisely.  Do not focus all of your energies on things that are only important to your earthly lives.  Your life on earth is just temporary, a fleeting moment in the entire scheme of our lives, and once you know that and really believe that, it can drastically change your values and what you hold most important in your life.   Know that just because you take the time to develop a prayer life or a closeness with God, that does not mean you will be without suffering or sadness.  If you ever find yourself wondering why there is pain or suffering in this world…remember, this is not the end of the story! This life is not, it can not, be the end of the journey for us.  We are called for so much more!   Don’t worry about “having it all” on earth in terms of material items.  Work hard, do your best, and know that there is more to life than what you see here in this world.  There has to be.

Now, sit back and enjoy the inspiration behind this blog post.  I hope YouTube is still around when you are old enough to read this in 16ish years.  This song is “Thrive” by the Casting Crowns.

I’ll love you forever, to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

 

One Year Old Jake

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Sweet Jake,

First things first little buddy, Happy Birthday!!!!!

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I have been thinking a lot lately about where we were a year ago and how I was anxiously awaiting your arrival into our family.  After months of carrying you and what felt like just as many months having trouble sleeping, walking, eating and doing virtually anything that required even the slightest bit of movement, I couldn’t wait to finally hold you in my arms and kiss your little lips and tell you how much I love you! You came into our lives and brought a sweetness and love that could not have been predicted or even replicated with anyone else.  YOU, my little love, are such a blessing to our family and I can’t imagine what life would be like without you! Heck, it’s hard enough to even try to remember what life was like before you!  Let’s take a little trip back from your very first moments to where we are now.  These are some of my favorite pictures from the last year.

I remember the day that we brought you home and how you slept so much that I really had difficulty waking you.  Your first week of life is pretty much the only time you slept during your first eight months of life! I’m kidding–although, not by much! You really took your daddy and I for a loop with your (non)sleeping habits.  Luckily you came to your senses about eight months in.

You have always been a very happy and smiley baby.  You greet strangers and friends alike with a big smile and sometimes (if you’re feeling it that day) a hug or a kiss.  People often ask if you are “always so happy?” and the answer is, of course, yes! Your daddy and I joke that your smile and happy personality “saved” you on those long nights where you would wake every 20-40 minutes night after night after night after every bloody night.  We love you just the same….whether you needed to be fed or needed us to snuggle you or you just wanted us to snuggle you, it didn’t really matter.  Our beliefs were that if you needed us, we would be there for you no matter how many times a night you needed us.  Those moments are slightly poetic in retrospect, but at the time it was grueling.  One thing is for certain, little buddy, and that is that we were there for you then, we are here for you now, and we will always be here for you. No matter what happens in this life, I can promise you that.

One year has been so much fun with you, little buddy! You love to clap, wave, blow kisses and walk while someone holds your hands to help you.  You love your sister and Zeus and often times will go looking for both when they are not around.  You say “Hi!” and “Bye!” and “Mama!” and “Dada!”  You love to play peek-a-boo and to read stories.  You are happy, you are a go-getter and a daredevil.  We have baby-proofed our house ten times more than we did with Rachel.  We practically clean your highchair with a pressure washer after you eat a meal in it.  Everything you do, you go all out doing it.  You play hard, you sleep hard (now), and you love hard.

We love you Jake, more than anything in this world.  We are so thankful for you and everything that this year brought us.  I wish you the happiest of birthdays for this year, and many, many, many years to come!

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I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

11 Month Old Jake

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jake113Dear Jakie,

Happy 11 months, sweet boy! You are getting bigger by the day and what seems like faster by the minute! Nothing is out of your reach these days as you love to open drawers, explore and empty out cabinets and hide in closets (but only after checking everything out first!).  You haven’t taken any steps yet, but your Dad and I wonder if it will happen soon.  You stand freely on your own for several seconds at a time and then get so excited that you “go boom!” down to the floor.  Sometimes you even giggle and clap for yourself and my heart just melts a little bit more over you when you do that. You still have only 3 teeth, your bottom two and then your top left front tooth.  Although I suspect by your slight fever and cuddly attitude tonight that a new one might just be making it’s debut soon.  You love to do your “SO BIG!” trick, although you hardly ever do it when someone new is watching (it’s ok, we know you’re probably just wondering why your silly parents insist on asking you how big you are in front of everyone).  You are slowing saying good-bye to your bottle, despite my best efforts to get you to take it.  You just smile and scoot around and push it away with a gentle yet determined force.  Speaking of smiling–everyone always asks us if you are “always so happy” and our answer is a resounding “Yes!” Sometimes I wonder how we ever got so lucky.  Happy kids=Happy life

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This month we took a trip to the beach where you spent your mornings *not napping* and playing on the beach with your sister.  You loved to splash in the waves at the shore and LOVED to be carried out to where the waves could crash around you.  You even rode your first horse this month! You loved it!! The horse came out with less hair after your ride because you still have some hair pulling issues we are trying to work out, but the horse didn’t seem to mind one bit.  Speaking of vacation…did someone say french fries? I think there was one day of vacation where french fries were pretty much the only thing you would eat, thank goodness that didn’t last long!

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Usually your days are spent exploring and babbling some sweet baby talk (like “bababababababa” or “mamamamamama” or what sounds like a very high pitched “eh!”).  Other than your laugh, I enjoy hearing your baby talk the most.  I wonder sometimes what you are really trying to tell us and I know all too soon I will be finding out 🙂 Everything is happening so fast, Jake Man.

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Everything is happening so fast buddy–you are changing and growing every day right before my very eyes.  One of my greatest joys in life is watching you grow and learn and explore and try new things.  With all these changes around us little buddy, there’s one thing that will never change—and that is my love for you.  One of the most interesting things that I’ve found about motherhood is that overwhelming feeling of love feels like an old love and a young love all wrapped up into one.  New love because we have only been together for a short while, I’m always learning new things about you and finding new things that I find endearing or special about you.  Old love because it feels like, in many ways, that our bond is so easy and natural and strong that it couldn’t possibly develop that way in just a mere 11 months alone….right? I feel like I have loved you and known you my whole life. More than my whole life even, it feels more like forever. Infact, I like to think and believe that I have.

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I love you to the moon and back.

Love,
Mommy